New strain of Smallpox-like virus found in Georgia

Cases revealed in Georgia have not had a lethal result., 03 May 2014 - 17:40, Tbilisi,Georgia

A new strain of virus has been identified in Georgia.

Three people have visited their doctor complaining of ulcers on their hands and a high temperature. All three confirmed they had been in contact with domestic animals. 

At first the Georgian specialists believed the virus could be Anthrax but this was found not to be the case. They consulted with their American colleagues and now both sides are jointly investigating the symptoms and trying to identify what the virus is and what complications it may cause. 

Specialists from the Atlanta Center for Disease Control and Prevention travelled to Georgia to study the virus. The experts said there was not analog to this type of virus but it's structure looked like it could be from the family of smallpox.

"Smallpox was eradicated a few years ago as a result of vaccination. None of the cases revealed in Georgia ended with a lethal result but we cannot speak about the whole specter of disease or what consequences it could cause," Juliette Morgan from Atlanta's Center for Disease Control and Prevention told the Georgian Public Broadcaster.

Specialists said all three men suffering from the virus are "absolutely healthy at this time", however they are continuing to study the virus to learn how it could develop. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Georgia stated the virus was first revealed last summer. They said the was a new genotype of Orthopoxvirus, which had not been fully described yet.

"Accordingly it will form as a separate branch of the phylogenetic tree of Orthopoxviruses," NCDC of Georgia stated.

American specialists have not excluded the fact the virus could be used for creating a biological weapon through manipulation since it was new and people do not have immunity against it yet.